(MOBILE, Ala.) A judge's order prohibiting Chief Jimmy Gardner from serving as Prichard's Police Chief still stands. Both sides, the mayor's office and and the chief went head to head in court Friday.
Gardner now alleges the mayor fired him out of retaliation. It's been a matter of contention for weeks now.
"There was no issue as to performance you see from the people that are here a lot of people like Jimmy Gardner. They like some of the things he did for the city however it is the prerogative of this mayor to choose his own chief going forward," said City Attorney Jerome Carter.
Gardner's attorney said Prichard's Mayor Troy Ephriam fired the chief out of retaliation days after Gardner filed an ethics complaint against the mayor. Not so, said Carter. He says Gardner's contract was no longer valid.
On the stand one council member defended Gardner saying the chief has a valid contract.
"He does have my vote based on his performance for the years that he's been there," said City Councilwoman Ossia Edwards.
Others in court worry the fight between the mayor and the chief has gone too far.
"And it didn't even have to go to this level which is still costing us money . We are a city now that's in bankruptcy. We don't have the money and we want to the chief back. The chief is a good chief," said Severia Campbell who is with a local concerned citizens group.
Should Gardener step aside? Who has the authority to hire and fire? All questions now left up to a judge. Judge Charles Graddick asked attorneys on both sides to present briefs by Friday.